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Year of Iran Exhibitions at Smithsonian

The Year of Iran will continue with two exhibitions at the Freer and Sackler Galleries, "The Tsars and the East: Gifts from Turkey and Iran in The Moscow Kremlin," May 9-Sept. 13, and "Falnama: The Book of Omens," Oct. 24, 2009, to Jan. 24, 2010.

The Tsars and the East: Gifts from Turkey and Iran in The Moscow Kremlin
May 9-September 13, 2009
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Detail, Helmet with mask

Iran, 16th century
The Moscow Kremlin Museums

Organized by the Smithsonian Institution's Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in collaboration with The Moscow Kremlin Museums, this presentation features more than sixty exceptional objects that large embassies, diplomatic missions, and trade delegations of Ottomans and Safavids offered to the tsars of Russia.

Ranging in date from the late sixteenth to the late seventeenth century, these lavish gifts and tributes include rarely seen arms and armor and jeweled ceremonial vessels and regalia intended for the Russian court or the Orthodox church.

Some of the finest pieces are equestrian in nature: stirrups with pearls, golden bridles with turquoises and rubies, and saddles covered with velvet and silk. The exhibition, only on view in Washington, D.C., explores the reasons why these extraordinary gifts were presented, their artistic and cultural impact, and the aesthetic styles and ceremonial etiquette they inspired that came to characterize the Russian court in the seventeenth century and beyond.

Falnama: The Book of Omens
October 24, 2009-January 24, 2010
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery


Divination Bowl
Safavid dynasty,
mid-16th century
Chased and engraved copper
5.7 x 19.8cm

Whether by consulting the position of the planets, casting horoscopes, or interpreting dreams, the art of divination was widely practiced throughout the Islamic world. The most splendid tools ever devised to foretell the future were illustrated texts known as the Falnama (Book of omens).

Notable for their monumental size, brilliantly painted compositions, and unusual subject matter, the manuscripts, created in Safavid Iran and Ottoman Turkey in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, are the center piece of Falnama: The Book of Omens.

This is the first exhibition ever devoted to these extraordinary manuscripts, which remain largely unpublished, and sheds new light on their artistic, cultural, and religious significance. Falnama: The Book of Omens comprises some sixty works of art from international public and private collections and is accompanied by a multi-authored, fully illustrated catalogue.

Detail, Folio from a Falnama (Book of Omens); verso: A Demon Descends upon a Horeseman
Safavid dynasty, ca. 1550
Opaque watercolor, ink and gold on paper
58.3 x 44.8 cm


The Freer Gallery of Art
, located at 12th Street and Independence Avenue S.W., and the adjacent Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, located at 1050 Independence Avenue S.W., are on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day, except Dec. 25, and admission is free. The galleries are located near the Smithsonian Metrorail station on the Blue and Orange lines. For more information, the public may call (202) 633-1000 or visit the Web site:

... Payvand News - 05/04/09 ... --

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